Some will say that having to apartment hunt in NYC is an absolute nightmare, but others say it is an exciting adventure. Could the difference of opinion have something to do with the time of year the people searched? Well, honestly, there are probably lots of factors involved. Some may be discouraged because of the high price of apartments in the Big Apple while others may not be keen on the thrill of the hunt. However, the time of year likely does play a major role in the overall experience.
If you were apartment hunting in most other cities in America, you would likely drive from one company to the next. So, if there is snow on the ground or it is freezing cold it is not really a big deal. You would be in your toasty vehicle most of the time anyway.
This is now how apartment shopping goes in NYC. Most people here do not even have a car, and even if you do have one you are not going to drive to each place. You will be lucky to find a parking spot three blocks away anyway. Searching for an apartment here is done on foot. You may have to splurge for a taxi if the wind-chill is too unbearable. Plus, you have to deal with slippery sidewalks in the winter. If you are hunting in the summer then conditions you deal with can be just as extreme. Good luck finding a tree-lined street in the heart of the city to enjoy a little shade.
Spring is perfect. There is no snow to deal with, and you are not freezing or sweating from extreme temperatures. You can get away with wearing comfortable sneakers and a jacket that you can tuck in your backpack if it gets warm.
Nothing is Hidden
Sometimes, you do not get the full picture of the area in the winter. Maybe the snow is covering a roof that desperately needs repair. Perhaps it is too cold for the obnoxious teenagers to linger on the bench outside your soon-to-be bedroom window like they usually do when it is warm. Maybe you do not get to see all the uneven spots on the sidewalk or the damage to the exterior of the building. Plus, if you look at an apartment in the winter, it is likely cold inside, so hidden smells are not so noticeable. Wait until it heats up inside and you start smelling cat urine in the padding under the carpet or the mold in the bedroom from the leaky roof that was simply painted over.
Everyone knows that spring is the best time to move to NYC, which also means that leases are ending all over the city. Whether people are looking to downsize to something cheaper, upsize to something larger, or move to a different neighborhood the bottom line is that people are moving. This means there are more apartments available to move into. Do not rely solely on the Internet to find a place though. In many cases, landlords rent a unit as someone is carrying their boxes to their moving truck. They do not even have time to put a sign in the window. Word of advice; if you are shopping for an apartment in the spring be ready to sign the lease. Have your checkbook, identification, your moving company, etc., with you and be prepared to put down the necessary money to secure the unit. Apartments move fast here and landlords have enough people wanting a place that they do not need to hold a unit while you think about it.